Seattle Cats! Success
I really love flying into Seattle.
What a beautiful, vibrant city.
It may be why the writers I meet there are so positive and talented — it’s such a great environment in which to be creative.
This weekend I conducted one of two Master Classes I will be doing in Seattle in the next ten days. But back at my desk, I must comment on how pleased I am with the way this is all unfolding.
I have had so many people write me or come up to me to say, “Save the Cat! saved my life!” These are writers who are trying to negotiate their way through the mysteries of storytelling, and for whom the method I propose makes the light go on! “Ah-ha! THAT’s why that scene is in that movie!” “THAT’s why those two movies are alike!” “THAT’s what I can do in my script, too!”
And they tell a friend… and THEY tell a friend… and so on… and so on…
I just heard from Ken Lee at my publisher’s office that the original Save the Cat! is now in its 11th printing thanks to this word of mouth, and Save the Cat! 2 is about to go into its second printing — amazing! He told me, “Congratulations, Save the Cat! is officially a classic in the field.”
But it would all mean nothing if these proposals I suggest weren’t being put into action.
And the Seattle Cats! are a great example or writers doing just that.
I came up to speak to the Northwest Screenwriter’s Group in spring of last year. It was a fantastic evening, and from the packed house of writers, I was contacted and asked to come back to do more.
After two Beat Sheet weekends in fall, a Cat! writing group emerged led by Heather Hughes. After the classes were over, and I went home, they continued to meet every other week, and like our hot little group here in LA, led by maestro Greg Field, they are on it! Participants call out “I think your Fun and Games is wonky!” or “I think you’re spidering a little there!” and the writer knows exactly what that means, and gets to the fix fast.
This weekend I met with 6 of these writers. We keep the class small, no more than 6 at a time, because the work is so intense. The Master Class is where we take your 15 beats and turn them into 40 cards, and wow, I was impressed. We had writer Laudon Williams, who was one of the first to discover the Cat! book in Seattle (and brought it to his friends) pitch out two stories to me, both dark, both very cool; Lisa Waite, another veteran who is working on a fantastic comedy, and with the talented Jill Hoven have similar-themed scripts with completely different takes! I was most proud of Leilani Moreau who, when a flaw in her original concept was revealed, didn’t panic, but went to work and found the silver bullet that fixed the spine of that story — like overnight! — while Kevin Sterling had perhaps the funniest scenes for his Fool Triumphant tale, and the writing team of Andrea Seybold and Kate Wharton wowed us with their story and were especially good on pitching.
Meanwhile, I just stood back in awe of these writers, and how far they’ve come with their stories and skills since the last time I saw them.
All stories are about transformation — and it’s happening in Seattle right before my eyes!
The method we propose lets writers get to the problem fast, it lets us talk about writing easily, it identifies weak spots in our stories and highlights strong points.
I will be coming up to Seattle again to lead a second Master Class and on Friday to bring the Cat! method to The Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America. The title of my talk: “Save the Cat! Falls In Love.” It’s about how the method I suggest which works in movies can be used to supercharge results in Romance novels, too.
But it could also be the title of my relationship to this work we’re doing, and the people doing that work.
I couldn’t be more pleased!
P.S. As production companies make deals with the WGA to agree to terms writers will eventually work out with studios, more companies are reading scripts. I just spoke to one writer who tells me that several entities are now deluged with submissions. It’s been a hard fought battle, but the WGA is winning the strike and this is proof! Thank you, WGA!
“Save the Cat” Falls in love? Sounds like the name for a new book to me!! ;-)
Can’t wait to do the 40 Beats workshop. Still working on bringing you to Sydney, Australia. It (along with finishing – and selling – my latest script) is one of my goals for 2008!
Izzy, can we arrange to have you bronzed and placed prominently in the lobby of Save the Cat! Enterprises? What a great endorsement! Thank you for your kind words! You made my day!
- Shannon McKelden
Blake, I attended Friday night’s SAVE THE CAT! Falls in Love, and it was fabulous! On my 2 hour trip home last night, I was able to not only come up with the answer to a few of the “beats” needed for my future work in progress, which then led to some characterization “ah-ha” moments, but I realized that I could use the identification of the beats and the save the cat moment in an older manuscript I’m currently reworking for my agent to start pitching to editors. For further study of the method, I fully intend on re-reading my one published book, VENUS ENVY (Tor reprint, 2008), and see if I can identify all those beats within my own story. We’ll see if it’s instinctual for me…even when I wasn’t aware the beats existed. :)
Well, back to reading SAVE THE CAT! Thanks again for the fun and funny workshop last night! I’ll definitely be visiting your website frequently for tips and further inspiration.
Like Shannon, I had a fantastic time with â€œSave the Cat! Falls In Love.â€
I put off most of my Saturday projects to continue reading SAVE THE CAT and look forward to the using the tips and beats to impove my WIP.
I also wanted to suggest maybe a â€œSave the Cat! Falls In Loveâ€ section in the CAT forms.
Thank you for the candid application of Cat-tatics for our group, it continues to be a wonderful learning experience.
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Blake, have you realized what great character names the Seattle writers have? You could put all of them in your next movie.